Anthony McFarland

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No. 12 Penn State and Trace McSorley end season on winning note and block Maryland from bowl berth

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No. 12 Penn State (9-3, 6-3) ended their regular season on a very positive note, one the Nittany Lions hope will be enough to receive an invite back to a New Years Six bowl game in a couple of weeks. Penn State’s 38-3 win against Maryland (5-7, 3-6 Big Ten) saw the senior class go out in winning fashion and brought an official close to the year for the Terrapins. Maryland needed a win in order to become eligible for a postseason bowl berth this year.

Playing in his final home game for Penn State, senior quarterback Trace McSorley made the most of it by becoming the school’s all-time leader in completions and adding his 21st career game with a passing and rushing touchdown in the same game. Mcsorley passed the previous school record for most all-time completions set by Christian Hackenberg in the first half and continued to rack up completions to go over 700 for his career. Mcsorley rushed for two touchdowns in the first half and threw his first and only touchdown pass of the game in the fourth quarter to tight end Pat Freiermuth. McSorley finished the day with 230 passing yards without an interception and 64 rushing yards with three total touchdowns before Tommy Stevens entered the game to relieve the Penn State starter.

Maryland’s offense appeared to have run out of steam after last week’s game at home against Ohio State. Anthony McFarland was limited to just 12 yards on six carries a week after a career day. Maryland’s entire running game was held down well by Penn State. The Terps had just 70 rushing yards in the game. Quarterback Tyrell Pigrome picked up just 13 rushing yards and was without a touchdown in the game. Penn State doubled the total offensive production of Maryland, 560-255 as well. It just appeared as though Maryland was out of gas on the road at the end of an emotionally exhausting season, and Penn State playing at home was a bad matchup for that to be the case.

Penn State will now sit and wait to see just what their bowl outlook may look like. Penn State began the week ranked just high enough to be eligible for consideration for an at-large bid to a New Years Six bowl game, but a handful of results this week could pose a threat to the possibility Penn State could play in a New Years Six bowl game (Washington State and Michigan losing), although a clearer picture should be painted on Tuesday night when the next College Football Playoff selection committee rankings are released. Penn State should still be in a spot for consideration, but it is a bit more clouded at the moment. If Penn State misses out on a New Years Six bowl game, the Nittany Lions could still be playing on January 1 with a spot in the Citrus Bowl a strong possibility if passed over for an at-large invitation. Ohio State being selected for the College Football Playoff could help Penn State’s case as Michigan would head to the Rose Bowl in the Big Ten’s tied-in spot.

While Penn State awaits its bowl fate, Maryland will continue to figure out just what happens next with the program. Matt Canada remains the interim coach as the program will now be able to focus on a coaching search to name a new permanent head coach. Despite the loss to Penn State, Canada should be among the list of candidates Maryland interviews for the job unless the school decided to wipe the slate completely clean of the DJ Durkin era and start over. Maryland’s 2019 season will begin on August 31, 2019 with a home game against Howard, followed by a home date against Syracuse.

No. 10 Ohio State survives OT shootout at Maryland, still in Big Ten title hunt

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No. 10 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) did not hold a lead until overtime, but that’s all that matters for the Buckeyes on this day. A failed two-point conversion attempt by Maryland (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) gave Ohio State a 52-51 victory to keep a shot at playing for the Big Ten East Division championship next week at home.

Ohio State and Maryland exchanged five straight touchdown drives as the offenses hit another gear in the final 15 minutes of regulation. Maryland had a chance to score last with the ball getting to the Ohio State 38-yard line, but Ohio State’s Chase Young chased down Maryland quarterback Tyrell Pigrome on 2nd & 10 for a loss of 14 yards and Dre’Mont Jones followed that with a sack for a loss of six yards on the final play of regulation as Maryland was out of field goal range in the closing seconds. That sent the game to overtime.

Starting on offense in overtime, Ohio State gambled with the way the offenses were going on a 4th and 1 play. After a timeout, Dwayne Haskins completed an easy pass to his left to Rashod Berry to get the ball to the five-yard line. Shortly after Ohio State was moved back 15 yards for a hands to the face penalty and a pass interference penalty on Maryland moved the ball forward 15 yards one play later, Haskins took care of business himself by running and stretching for the end zone and a touchdown. The call on the field had to be upheld following a video review to certify Ohio State’s first lead of the game.

Maryland wasted no time answering with a big 24-yard run by Anthony McFarland on the first play of Maryland’s overtime possession, and Tayon Fleet-Davis scored on the next play to bring Maryland within one. Rather than kick an extra point to force the second overtime, Maryland head coach Matt Canada opted to end the game one way or the other with a two-point conversion. Pilgrome rolled to his right and fired off a pass but it was unable to be hauled in, and Ohio State breathed a massive sigh of relief.

McFarland rushed for a career-high 298 yards with two long touchdown runs of at least 75 yards and Maryland rushed for a team total of 339 yards and five touchdowns against an Ohio State defense that once again showed plenty of problems. Making this less encouraging for Ohio State was the defense played one of their better games a week ago against Michigan State after some woeful performances leading up to that. Ohio State compensated with their offense, led by Haskins throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 59 yards and three touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins rushing for 203 yards and a touchdown.

Ohio State running back Mike Weber did not play in the game, although he was on the sidelines in uniform. No explanation for his absence was provided.

Ohio State has plenty of room for improvement next week when the Buckeyes host rival Michigan in the regular season finale. The winner of next week’s game between the Buckeyes and Wolverines will clinch the Big Ten East Division and head to Indianapolis to play Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game in two weeks. The win also helps keep Ohio State on the College Football Playoff radar, although the Buckeyes have a crowded pack in front of them.

Maryland will conclude its regular season next week on the road at Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won the last three meetings in the series since Maryland won the first Big Ten matchup between the two in 2014. Maryland lost at home 66-3 in last season’s regular-season finale. Maryland will have to win next week in order to qualify for a bowl game.

Maryland running game gashing Ohio State, Buckeyes on upset alert

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Is No. 10 Ohio State being caught looking ahead, or is Maryland simply taking advantage of defensive holes the Buckeyes have had all season? The Terrapins have put Ohio State in a difficult spot at halftime in College Park with freshman running back Anthony McFarland already rushing for 231 yards and two scores to help put Maryland on top of Ohio State, 24-17. Ohio State had a chance to draw even just before halftime but fumbled the ball at the Maryland one-yard line.

It was an incredibly sloppy start to the game for the Ohio State defense. McFarland ripped off an 81-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the game. On the ensuing kickoff, Maryland recovered a loose ball that fell in a perfect spot with Ohio State not prepared to recover. Ohio State’s defense forced a fumble one play later though to limit the damage. McFarland took off running for a 75-yard run after Ohio State settled for a field goal. Maryland took a 17-3 lead with their own field goal before the end of the first quarter.

Ohio State cut into the lead in the second quarter with Dwayne Haskins tossing a 68-yard touchdown strike to Terry McLaurin on the first play after a missed field goal try by the Terps. But the Ohio State defense failed on the ensuing drive by giving up a touchdown drive capped by a 16-yard touchdown run by Javon Leake.

But the Buckeyes did have one more answer with an eight-play 75-yard drive that was wrapped up by a J.K. Dobbins leap and stretch over a pile at the goal line for the score. Ohio State has not used Mike Weber in the running game, although he has been spotted on the sideline in uniform. A reason for his absence from this game has not been made public.